Hopefully, you are reading this before your interview and not dwelling on the questions you may or may not have answered correctly!
Maybe you’re searching for all the help you can get online before your next big interview.
Either way, being asked to describe yourself is a very common interview question.
There are people who can talk about themselves all day.
Despite how you feel about these people, they are at quite an advantage here. But we can help you!
In this video, we take a deep dive into some of the best (and worst) words to describe yourself in an interview!
Keep reading and we'll share some great words to describe yourself and more importantly, sample answers to back those words up.
Below are some good, bad, and controversial words to describe yourself. If you just came here looking for some keywords, this is for you.
If your goal is to absolutely blow someone away in an interview, these keywords alone won't get you far.
More important than the keywords is the story and supporting evidence that you can provide. Keep reading and we'll show you exactly how to do this.
Let’s say you can think of a handful of good words on the spot.
Or maybe you’re unsure if the words you think of are any good.
Whatever you do, try to avoid simply listing descriptive words.
Rather, give a short story to support your claim.
Below is a list of appropriate answers to the interview question, "Can you describe yourself in 5 words?"
Diligent / Loyal / Reliable
I am always the first person that my friends call because they know I am always there for them. Night or day, I make sure to take care of the people in my life. I put the same effort into making sure my work is done correctly, and I am always available to help my team members.
Creative / Innovative / Visionary
I love trying new things, creating new methods, and introducing new ideas. In my previous job, I was responsible for selling waterproof phones. One day, I brought in a clear container filled with water to demo the waterproof phones. We made underwater videos and the phone still worked. Once my manager found out, he made this a mandatory practice for all 150 locations.
Motivated / Ambitious / Leader
I believe I am very driven. Throughout college, I was active in three clubs, worked full time, and still managed to graduate at the top of my class. As the oldest sibling, I have always been somewhat of a leader. My brothers and sisters constantly look up to me for advice.
Honest / Ethical / Conscientious
Ever since I was a little kid I have tried to stay ethical. I remember one time I found six Disneyland tickets and $200 cash in an envelope. I turned the envelope into the store where I found it. My honesty paid off when no one came to claim it and I was able to keep the content.
Friendly / Personable / Extrovert
I've always enjoyed meeting new people and maintaining a lot of relationships. I'm your typical extrovert which has really helped me in my career. My natural networking abilities have allowed me to excel in sales roles such as this one.
It is important to think of relevant explanations that also align with the job you are interviewing for.
There may be 50 words to describe yourself.
However, pick the ones that will be valued most for the position at hand.
Tell them how these words apply to your life and give an example that backs it up.
This may be difficult for those who are shy and have problems opening up, but this is a great life skill.
Don’t be afraid to think about your answer ahead of time so you can shine your character in the best possible light.
Try to avoid general verbiage when you describe yourself.
Some bad words to describe yourself that lack substance include:
- extensive experience
Don’t get us wrong, these are positive traits.
They are also very general traits.
That’s why everyone uses them.
These words might describe you, but it could also be assumed in any candidate and will come across as boring.
Think of how many people are going to give these basic answers.
Don’t be like them!
Set yourself apart from the masses and provide truthful character traits that will resonate with the interviewer.
Also, make sure to avoid words that one can perceive as negative such as:
Choose words that can only leave a positive impression.
The goal is to avoid the generic and anything that can come off as negative.
Never, ever, ever say, “I don’t know,” in response to this question!
If you don’t know how to describe yourself, then what else don’t you know?
In other words, it leaves a bad impression.
What leaves a good impression?
Giving a cool, calm, and confident response.
This type of response gives the hiring manager the impression that you are the type of person who comes prepared.
And this can only work in your favor.
Just one reason why it helps to prepare your responses ahead of time!
The best way to prepare for this question is just that.
If you are able to successfully describe yourself in 5 words, you will come off as a confident and capable candidate.
Nobody knows you better than yourself so all you have to do is put it into words!
However, if you really need help thinking of words that describe you, consider asking some friends or family members.
If you are at a loss trying to figure out which words describe you, ask the people who know you best.
Simply text, call, or email a few friends and family members asking "What do you think are words that describe me?"
By asking others what words can be used to describe you (and eliminating the not-so-positive words they might use), you will have a great starting place to come up with your more detailed and descriptive answer for the interview.
If you are interested in taking your interview game to the next level, it's time to hire an interview coach.
Interview coaches are trained professionals who know what hiring managers want.
Investing in an interview coach can make the difference in landing the job, or coming in second.
Check out our list of the best interview coaching services around.
Good luck! You are going to do great.